Monday, July 28, 2008

Teaching Red Ink

Today’s Des Moines Register features a front page story on the sad financial shape of 60 school districts in the state. In fiscal year 2009, the accumulated red ink of these districts will add up to $31,161,924. There are nine districts with projected deficits over $1 million for FY 2009. Two of those – Prairie Valley and Dubuque – have estimated deficits exceeding $2 million.

Every member of all of these school boards should be recalled for gross mismanagement and their administrators fired. Seriously. How can these duly elected public officials and the staff members they hire continue in this situation?

In the Register article, an official with the Iowa State Education Association hits the nail on the head with this analysis: schools with declining enrollments are not cutting staff at the same rate. With 80 percent of school budgets going to salaries, there is no excuse for not correlating enrollment and staffing appropriately.

Before you pull out the tired old, “It’s for the kids.” axiom, consider this. Schools teach business courses and any scenario or case study with a business this far in the red would be held up as a failure. In this respect, these schools are failures because they have not diligently watched the bottom line so childrens’ educations are not put at risk.

When the Russell school district was forced to close because of similar mismanagement, the cost was entirely too high in terms of personal loss for the children, the community, and the staff. It appears many other districts will face the same fate because no one was paying attention.

If your school district is on the list, become the school board’s biggest nightmare. Attend every meeting. Run for election – the filing deadline is this Thursday!!

Conservatives need to become active and engaged participants in government at all levels. The school board is no exception.

Click here for the list of schools and the projected deficits from the DM Register.


Anonymous said...

The schools are in terrible shape and have been going down hill for a long time. We need to shut down the union!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:03 pm is right - the teachers' union protects jobs, not teachers and there's a big difference. Attrition can be part of the solution but until staff size shrinks with enrollment, it's a lost cause.